We know you care about your family and friends’ health and safety. We do too. At Cleveland Water, we know that access to a reliable supply of safe drinking water is critical to keeping the people you care about safe. That is why we work hard to make sure the water we deliver to the 1.4 million people who count on us meets and exceeds the highest standards for quality and safety.
With all of the current attention on risks associated with lead in water, we thought it was a good time to remind everyone that your water in Cleveland – and the 79 other communities we serve – is safe. We take multiple steps to make sure the water we deliver to your home is safe from lead and other contaminants outlined by State and Federal regulations.
With 160 years in the water business, we have learned that one of the most important things when producing safe drinking water is consistency.
In Cleveland, we are blessed to be on the shores of Lake Erie. Not only is Lake Erie one of our region's greatest natural assets, it is also an ample and consistent supply of source water for the Cleveland Water system. This consistency is critically important. The more consistent the water is that goes into our treatment process, the less adjustments we need to make when we treat the water, and the more consistent and safe the water is when it leaves our treatment plant.
Since your safety is our top priority, here are some other things we do at Cleveland Water to make sure our water quality is as good and consistent as it can be by the time it hits your tap.
Over the past 15 years, we have spent more than $650 million upgrading and modernizing all four of our water treatment plants. We employ a state-of-the-art treatment process. Specific to reducing the risks associated with lead, we include a chemical called orthophosphate. Orthophosphate is an anti-corrosive that creates a thin layer of film which acts as a barrier on metal pipes and fixtures to prevent lead from leaching into the water. This protection works not only on Cleveland Water’s mains, but also on customer owned plumbing.
We know that orthophosphate is an effective preventative measure, but we still go out and test for lead throughout our service area. The majority of lead contamination does not come from Cleveland Water’s mains; instead it comes from plumbing found in older homes. When testing, we go to single family residences with lead service lines and/or plumbing with high lead solder because this is where we would expect to find instances of lead contamination. Samples are collected from bathroom or kitchen sinks as these are the areas where water is typically ingested. Before drawing a sample, it must be at least six hours since water was used at the property, as this increases the likelihood of detecting lead.
The results of our testing are reported regularly to the Ohio EPA, and we consistently meet and exceed their requirements for lead, as well as all other potential water quality contaminants. For more information on all of our other water quality testing results, take a look at our annual Water Quality Report. It shows that we are consistently meeting and exceeding all of our water quality standards.
As we have mentioned above, the greatest risk of causing lead contamination comes from at-home plumbing that contains lead and copper with high lead solder. If you are still worried about the risk of lead, here are a couple things you can do. First, if you want to have your water tested, the Ohio EPA maintains a list of certified laboratories that can test for lead and many other potential contaminants. Home test kits may or may not be effective, but we know the Ohio EPA laboratories are using the same methods we are required to use.
Second, if your home has a lead service connection, service line or plumbing, before using water for drinking or cooking, turn on the cold tap and let it run for 1 to 2 minutes, particularly if the water has been off and sitting in the pipes in your home for more than 6 hours. Boiling will not reduce the amount of lead in your water, and can, in fact, concentrate it.
We want you to feel confident that the water Cleveland Water delivers to your home is safe and free from contaminants. We are confident your water is safe and are ready to answer your questions. If you want more information, start by clicking here to view our video on how we keep your water safe. You can also look at our Water Quality report. If you have additional questions call our Water Quality line at 216.664.2639.